The Journalism Concentration enables students to develop journalistic skills as well as attend to their role as public writers in their field(s) of study. Through interdisciplinary intellectual inquiry inside the classroom and practical internship experiences, you will explore the fundamental role of high-quality journalism: writing for the public that leverages in-depth research and reportage, clear-headed analysis, and the inclusion of different points of view. You will build a portfolio, learning to read closely, interview sources effectively, synthesize information accurately, and express it clearly and gracefully.
The Journalism Concentration accepts up to 15 students per class year. Students may apply after having declared a major. Sophomores, juniors and Ada Comstock Scholars are encouraged to apply. The selection of concentrators is based on academic performance, intentionality and commitment, and diversity of the cohort. Priority is given to students who have already completed the gateway course and one relevant elective. Journalism concentrators design their path in consultation with their adviser, choosing courses relevant to the journalistic practice that most suits their interests or needs—from general assignment reporting to photojournalism to public writing from within a scholarly discipline.
JNX 150 The Journalistic Impulse
As the Gateway course for the Journalism Concentration, this course introduces students to journalism as a profession. It uses the personal as the lens through which to survey the field. The course covers basics of the profession, such as the role of journalism in a democracy, the lifecycle of a story (where it starts, how it develops), and the anatomy of a story (what counts as a journalistic story, how journalistic stories are constructed). In addition, the course invites working journalists as guest lecturers, enabling students to read, hear and discuss journalism from representative contemporary areas of the journalism enterprise.
ENG 136 Journalism Principles and Practice
In this intellectually rigorous writing class, students learn how to craft compelling “true stories,” using the journalist’s tools. They research, report, write, revise, source, and share their work—and, through interviewing subjects firsthand, understand how other people see the world. We consider multiple styles and mediums of journalism, including digital storytelling.
This course deepens students’ capacity by familiarizing them with journalistic methods, including interviewing, reporting, writing and structure, audiovisual modes, and ethical considerations.
- JNX 150: A partial-credit gateway course;
- WRT/ENG 136: The core journalism course, Journalism: Principles and Practice;
- Three electives relevant to the student’s area of focus. At least one elective must involve significant public writing, or practice such as photojournalism, digital media, or audio;
- JNX 350: The capstone seminar, involving an independent journalistic project;
- Two practical experiences or internships.
Electives in the Concentration
At Smith, a wide variety of courses engage meaningfully with public-facing writing, public discourse, and media. These electives are loosely divided into four pillars:
- Writing/Practice Focus: Explicitly engage with public-facing writing and practice through substantive assignments such as articles, podcasts, photography/video, or film;
- Media Literacy Focus: Critically examine media presence, practice and impact in society;
- Quantitative Focus: Provide grounding in quantitative methods useful for journalistic practice, including statistics, data analytics and visualization, and data journalism; and
- Transnational Focus: Explore any of the above in an international context.
- AMS 351/ENG 384 Seminar: Topics in Writing about American Society
- BIO 380 Science in the Public Eye
- IDP 107 Digital Media Literacy
- ENG 135 Introduction to Writing Creative Nonfiction
- ENG 290 Crafting Creative Nonfiction
- FMS 280 Introduction to Video Production
- MUS 325 Writing About Music
- NSC 316 Seminar: Neuroscience in the Public Eye
- SDS 236 Data Journalism
- All Calderwood seminars (300 level) and very often ENG 291 (Lakes Writing Workshop).
Media Literacy Courses
- AMS 225 Corporate Capitalism, Media and Protest in America
- BIO 101 Modern Biology for the Concerned Citizen
- ESS 230 Body Images and Sport Media
- FMS 150 Introduction to Film and Media Studies
- FMS 237 The Documentary Impulse
- GOV 210 Public Opinion and Mass Media in the United States
- SOC 270 Media, Technology and Sociology
- CSC 109/SDS 109 Communicating with Data
- MTH 105 Discovering Mathematics: Topics course – Sex, Drugs, and Rock-and-Roll: How Chance Changes Our Lives
- MTH 107/SDS 107 Statistical Thinking
- QSK 102 Quantitative Skills in Practice
- SDS 192 Introduction to Data Science
- SDS 236 Data Journalism
- IDP 291/SPN 291 Reflecting on the International Experience: Depicting Journey with Digital Storytelling
- GER 350 Language and the German Media
- EAL 101 Introduction to Language and Culture in East Asia: Topics course – Writing and Cultural Identity
- FRN 251 The French Media, Now and Then: Topics course–The French Press Online
- FRN 365 Francophone Literature and Culture: Topics course–Scandals and Spin Control: Francophone Literature in the Media
- JPN 350 Contemporary Texts I
Students may propose other courses in consultation with their faculty adviser.
Internships are an integral element of the Journalism Concentration. Students complete two internships that enable each student to acquire practical, first-hand knowledge of the professional work of journalism and public writing. Students are responsible for researching and securing appropriate internships from a wide array of available local, regional, national and international internships identified in cooperation with the concentration advisers.
Each internship or practical experience must be approved by the student’s concentration adviser, involve a minimum of 100 documented hours of work, and receive a supervisor’s evaluation.
Internships in journalism, media and public writing vary widely in focus, content and competitiveness.
The Jacobson Center is the organizational hub for the Journalism Concentration, and students design their path in consultation with a faculty adviser. Bridging with the larger community, the Journalism Concentration provides opportunities to interface with Five College, alum and regional journalists and faculty researchers, as well as the considerable resources of the college’s other centers. The concentration encourages a practice that is global in perspective and takes advantage of study abroad experiences.
Capstone Seminar & Projects
JNX 350: Capstone Seminar
The capstone gives students the opportunity to put methodology into practice in an extended self-directed but faculty-guided project.
Declaration of Concentration
Students who have been accepted into the concentration and received their adviser’s name need to fill out the
→ Program of Study Declaration Form.
This is the last step in making the concentration official in Workday.
Practical Experience Forms
After discussing the proposed practical experience with their advisers, students need to fill out the corresponding practical experience approval form in order to have the experience count towards the concentration requirements:
- Summer Internship (100 hours or more) → Internship Credit Application
All students undertaking a summer internship of at least 100 hours are eligible to receive academic credit (0.25 credits per experience) that will appear on their transcript. We encourage all students who qualify to apply for internship credit. Students applying for Praxis funding don’t need to fill out this form, and should instead use the “Praxis with Credit” form below.
- Unpaid Summer Internship (220 hours or more) → Praxis with Credit Application
All Smith students are eligible to receive a stipend payment for one normally unpaid internship through the Praxis program at the Lazarus Center. These internships must take place during the summer, and must comprise at least 220 working hours. Students in Concentrations are eligible to apply for Praxis a second time– Praxis Plus. When applying for a Praxis internship, the applicant must specify if the internship counts towards a concentration and should fill out the “Praxis with Credit” application.
- Other Internships and Practical Experiences
Students whose internships do not meet the above requirements because they take place during Interterm, during the school year, or for any other reason, should fill out the following forms.
Prior to starting the internship please fill out the → Practical Experience Approval Form.
Upon completion of the practical experience please fill out the → Practical Experience Completion Form.
- Retroactive Credit for an Experience
Students who completed a practical experience relevant to the concentration prior to being accepted into the cohort should discuss the experience with their concentration adviser as soon as possible. Once the experience is approved, students must fill out the → Practical Experience Completion Form and check the “Retroactive Experience” box on the form.
Advising Checklist for Graduation
Students are required to submit a completed Concentration Advising Checklist at the start of their final semester. This form documents the completed components of the concentration requirements, and must be signed by the student’s concentration adviser. Completed form should be sent to the registrar’s office (email@example.com) and to the administrative coordinator for concentrations (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Organizations That Offer Internships
The Lazarus Center is a key partner in connecting students to opportunities and has compiled lists of previous student internships. Past Praxis student internship reports compiled by the Lazarus Center for journalism, publishing or media completed by Smith students from 2015–20 are compiled in the following:
- Summer Activity Reports Summary (Excel worksheet)
- Summer Activity Reports, including student write-ups about their experiences
The following external sites compile journalism internships and provide search tips and guidance:
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Mount Holyoke College
- Chegg Journalism Internships
- The University of Arizona
New England Journalism Internships
- New England Newspaper & Press Association Internship List
- Boston Globe internship and application form
Smith’s international programs also provide opportunities for student internships. Students should discuss past journalism internships and current opportunities with their study abroad advisers. Smith’s study abroad programs in Geneva, Florence, Paris and Hamburg have indicated the possibility of integrating journalism internships with their programs.
- New England First Amendment Coalition
- MaryJo Webster’s Data Journalism Academy
- Google News Initiative
- The Lead from Poynter
- Ida B. Wells Society
- Investigative Reporters & Editors
- Daily Chatter Newsletter
- Smith College customized link
- The Op-Ed Project (workshops, webinars & resources)
NYU Journalism Handbook for Students: Ethics, Law and Good Practice
You may apply to the Journalism Concentration using the following link to the electronic application form. The spring 2023 application deadline is March 10, 2023.
The Jacobson Center for Writing, Teaching and Learning
Seelye Hall 307
Northampton, MA 01063
Director: Naila Moreira
Writing & Public Discourse
Writing that matters.
Smith is undergoing a transformation in how we teach students to write, with public discourse at the center. Across Smith’s courses, disciplines, programs and events, students don’t just get a chance to practice writing in the classroom, they also get a chance to put their ideas into action and make a difference in the world.
LEARN MORE ABOUT WRITING & PUBLIC DISCOURSE AT SMITH